Tuesday, October 4, 2016

NYT: Is Leftist Era Fading in Latin America? Ask Colombia and Brazil

Europe, Central and South America, and soon, the US...

Leftists are fading and the pendulum swings right.
RIO DE JANEIRO (NYT) — It was not a banner day for Latin America’s leftists.

Colombia rejected a peace deal with Marxist rebels on Sunday, delivering a very public victory to the conservative former president who campaigned passionately against it. On the same day, voters in Brazil handed a resounding defeat to the leftist party that once controlled their country, knocking it down in municipal elections.

It was just another sign of the shift to the right in Latin America. In less than a year, voters have thwarted the leftist movement in Argentina and elected a former investment banker as president of Peru, while lawmakers impeached the leftist leader of Brazil.

“Put simply, conservatives are on the rise in Latin America,” said Matías Spektor, a professor of international relations at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, a university in Brazil.

Many factors are feeding the trend. The sharp drop in commodities prices has eroded economic growth around Latin America and the support leftist governments once drew from it. The clout of evangelical Christian megachurches is expanding, and they are confronting socially liberal policies and channeling widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo.

But in one country after another, the results are the same: Leaders embracing market-friendly policies are eclipsing the leftists who exerted sway around the Americas in the previous decade. Once-powerful leftist presidents like Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina now face corruption inquiries.